Flying over a large city, we can see tall buildings, houses in neat rows, lakes that dot the landscape, manicured greenery, and roads crisscrossing the whole scene. It's a remarkable sight how much people can accomplish when they dedicate themselves to doing something. It can even give us a sense of joy and comfort to behold it all.
However, there's nothing we've ever built for ourselves that can compare to God's city. As the Psalmist describes it (Psalm 48), it will not only fill us with a sense of joy and comfort, it's a place of safety for the tired traveler. It's a city that one looks at and sees holiness, glory, God's great mercy, righteousness, and love. Imagine flying over a city like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles and seeing that!
But, for now, God's city is observable only to faith. It's holiness, glory, and greatness is only shown to us in the crucified Christ through the Gospel. God's righteousness and loving-kindness are also revealed to us through Jesus. Outside of Jesus, we're left to imagine the perfect city as we would design and build it. And maybe we can imagine a beautiful city, that's a marvelous place, but it's a city planned out and built by human selfishness. It's a city that stretches out in every direction without end. A city that is constructed so that everyone's ideas are included.
In the city of our dreams, we all have our own private parks where no one else can hike or camp, our own roads that only we can drive on, and strict noise ordinances so that we can live in peace and quiet, undisturbed by our neighbors. Of course, our neighbors' presence in the city will also have to be addressed by the city planners. The proximity of our neighbors will be contingent on how much they actually contribute to our joy and comfort.
The city of God, on the other hand, is built to welcome everyone. Kings and pig farmers will find a place in God's city. Leaders and slaves will assemble together in eternal glory in God's city, where all are invited to the feast of the Lamb without end.
God's city is beautiful because God has constructed it to offer eternal safety to all weary sinners. In Christ Jesus, God's holiness, glory, greatness, righteousness, and loving-kindness will be given to all who enter through the gates of the New Jerusalem.
Christ Jesus, through His blood-stained cross, took God's wrath to Himself so that, through faith in Him, we can live in that city. The city we Christians call "home." In that city, Christians will find refuge from our selfish struggles and the temptations of the world and Satan.
In Christ, God provides us with a city of refuge where we will be given joy and comfort because He will protect us on every side from trials and afflictions. In this city, we will behold God's beauty, Jesus Christ, who is our God forever and ever.
We may be amazed when we behold the cities that our imagination and will have built. But, God's city will give us immeasurable joy and comfort because there we will be with Savior Jesus, feasting and singing His praises, freed from all harm and danger in the New Jerusalem, Zion, the city of our great King.